Southern California, or So Cal, is defined as the southern portion of the U.S. state of California. Its population centers on the cities of Los Angeles, San Diego, San Bernardino, and Riverside. The region is home to over 23 million people and is the nation's second most populated region, behind only the BosWash Region in the Northeastern United States.
Though there is no official definition for the northern boundary of Southern California, most definitions in use include all the land south of the Tehachapi Mountains, located about 700NaN0 north of Los Angeles.
On the west of Southern California lies the Pacific Ocean; to the south is the international border between the United States and Mexico; to the east are the Mojave and Colorado Deserts and the Colorado River at the state's border with Arizona and Nevada.
Within its boundaries is a major world city, Los Angeles, and three of the country's largest metropolitan areas. Its counties of Los Angeles, Orange, San Diego, San Bernardino, and Riverside are in the top 15 most populous counties in the United States. The region is also home to Los Angeles International Airport, the third-busiest airport in the United States by passenger volume (see World's busiest airports by passenger traffic) and the 2nd by international passenger volume, Van Nuys Airport (see Busiest airports in the United States by international passenger traffic), the world's busiest general aviation airport, Ontario International Airport, John Wayne International Airport, San Diego International Airport, and LA/Palmdale Regional Airport . Southern California is also home to the Port of Los Angeles, the United States' busiest commercial port, and the adjacent Port of Long Beach. Also of note in the region is the freeway system, which is the world's busiest. Six of the seven lines of the commuter rail system, Metrolink, run out of Downtown Los Angeles, connecting Los Angeles, Ventura, San Bernardino, Riverside, Orange, and San Diego counties with the other line connecting San Bernardino, Riverside, and Orange counties directly, the nation's first suburb-to-suburb commuter rail line.
The Tech Coast is a moniker that has gained use as a descriptor for the region's diversified technology and industrial base as well as its multitude of prestigious and world-renowned research universities and other public and private institutions. Amongst these include five University of California campuses (Los Angeles (UCLA), Irvine, Riverside, Santa Barbara, and San Diego (UCSD) campuses), 10 California State University campuses (Channel Islands, Dominguez Hills, Fullerton, Long Beach, Los Angeles, Pomona (Cal Poly Pomona), Northridge (CSUN), San Bernardino, San Diego (SDSU), and San Marcos campuses), as well as private institutions such as Caltech, the University of Southern California, Pepperdine University, Loyola Marymount University, the Claremont Colleges and the University of San Diego (USD).
Southern California is also the entertainment (motion picture, television, and recorded music) capital of the world and is home to Hollywood, the center of the motion picture industry. Headquartered in Southern California are The Walt Disney Company (which also owns ABC), Sony Pictures, Universal, MGM, Paramount Pictures (parent company of Dreamworks), 20th Century Fox and Warner Brothers, and as well as Univision, Activision, and THQ. Southern California is also home to the world's largest adult entertainment industry, located primarily in the San Fernando Valley. More than 85% of adult film and video production in North America takes place in the area.
Besides the entertainment industry, Southern California is also home to a large surf and skateboard culture. Companies such as Volcom, Quiksilver, O'Neill clothing division, Lost Enterprises, Sector 9 , RVCA, Body Glove and Surfline are all headquartered here. Professional skateboarder Tony Hawk, professional surfers Rob Machado, Tim Curran, Bobby Martinez, Pat O'Connell, Dane Reynolds, and Chris Ward, and professional snowboarder Shaun White live in Southern California. Some of the world's legendary surf spots are here as well, including Trestles, Rincon, The Wedge, Huntington Beach, and Malibu, and it is second only to the island of Oahu in terms of famous surf breaks. Brand name skate parks including the Vans Skate Park in Orange, the Etnies Park in Lake Forest, and the YMCA Skate Park in Encinitas are in Southern California. Some of the world's biggest extreme sports events including the X Games , Boost Mobile Pro , and the U.S. Open of Surfing] --> are all in Southern California.
Southern California is home to many sports franchises and sports networks such as Fox Sports Net. Teams that are located in the region include the Los Angeles Lakers, Los Angeles Clippers, Los Angeles Dodgers, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, San Diego Padres, Los Angeles Kings, Anaheim Ducks, Los Angeles Galaxy, Chivas USA, Los Angeles Riptide, and San Diego Chargers. Southern California also hosts a number of popular NCAA sports programs, such as the UCLA Bruins, the USC Trojans, and the SDSU Aztecs.
The region's northern boundary is subject to a broader degree of interpretation than those of the West, East, and South. The most commonly used physical boundary between "Southern California" and the rest of the state is the Tehachapi Range , located about 70miles north of Los Angeles, and the Transverse Ranges in Santa Barbara County west to Point Conception. Seven counties (listed in descending order of population) are included: Los Angeles, San Diego, Orange, San Bernardino, Riverside, Ventura, and Imperial, as well as the southern part of Santa Barbara.
A more inclusive definition coinciding neatly with county lines uses the sixth standard parallel south of Mount Diablo (144 miles south of Mt. Diablo at 35°47′28″N) which forms the northern borders of San Luis Obispo, Kern, and San Bernardino counties as the boundary. The rest of Santa Barbara, San Luis Obispo, and Kern County, California are included as well for a total of ten counties.
|County||Population (Jan 2007 estimate)||Land Area (mi²)||Density (per mi²)|
|San Bernardino County||2,028,013||20,105||100.9|
|Los Angeles County||10,331,939||4,061||2,544.2|
|San Luis Obispo County||257,005||3,304||77.8|
|San Diego County||3,098,269||4,200||737.7|
|Santa Barbara County||421,625||2,737||145|
|City||Population (2007 estimate)|
|Goleta, Santa Barbara County||30,169|
|Carpinteria, Santa Barbara County||14,123|
|Summerland CDP, Santa Barbara County||1,545 (2000 Census)|
|Isla Vista CDP, Santa Barbara County||18,344 (2000 Census)|
|Mission Canyon CDP, Santa Barbara County||2,610 (2000 Census)|
|Toro Canyon CDP, Santa Barbara County||1,697 (2000 Census)|
|Hope Ranch, Santa Barbara County||2,200 (2000 Census)|
|Southern Coast of Santa Barbara County||170,144|
|SoCal boundary disputed||971,792|
Source : http://www.dof.ca.gov/HTML/DEMOGRAP/ReportsPapers/Estimates/E1/documents/e-1press.pdf
Southern California is in part a heavily developed urban environment, along with vast arid areas that have been left undeveloped. It is the second-largest urbanized region in the United States, second only to the Washington, D.C./Philadelphia/New York/Boston megalopolis (BosWash). Whereas the BosWash cities are dense, with major downtown populations and significant rail and transit systems, much of SoCal is famous for its large, spread-out, suburban communities and use of automobiles and highways. The dominant areas are Los Angeles, Orange County, San Diego, Riverside, and San Bernardino, each of which is the center of its respective metropolitan area, which are in turn composed of numerous other cities and communities.
Traveling south on Interstate 5, the main gap to continued urbanization is Camp Pendleton. The communities along Interstate 15 and Interstate 215 are so inter-related that Temecula has as much connection with San Diego County as it does with the Inland Empire. To the east, the United States Census Bureau considers the San Bernardino and Riverside County areas, Riverside-San Bernardino Area as a separate metropolitan area from Los Angeles County. While many commute to L.A. and Orange Counties, there are some differences in development, as most of San Bernardino and Riverside Counties were developed in the 1980s and 1990s.
Population figures for California cities are 2008 State of California estimates
Southern California is also divided into the Coastal Region (Orange County, Los Angeles County, San Diego County, Santa Barbara County, and Ventura County) and the larger, more sparsely populated, desert Inland Empire (San Bernardino County, Riverside County, and Imperial County). The division between the Coastal Regions and the Inland Empire winds along the backs of the coastal mountain ranges such as the Santa Ana Mountains.A related geographical term is cismontane Southern California, which refers to the portion of California on the coastal side of the Transverse and Peninsular mountain ranges. The term "Southern California" often refers to this region specifically, as opposed to largely desert areas comprising the rest of the southern portion of the state, which are referred to as transmontane Southern California.
For major airlines and commercial air carriers
The following are central business districts in Southern California:
Note: highway segments with names listed in italics are surface streets and not freeways.
See main article: Metrolink (Southern California).